I highly recommend you reading these books and forming your own opinions. However, if you don’t have the time to read all of them, at least you can check the quotes that I have written down. I am sure you may find many more and different quotes if you read these books yourself.
Many of these books have a bias for productivity, financial markets and psychology since these are my areas of interest.
Here is the list of books included:
- Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox by John Freeman
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
- The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
Other interesting books that I have read you can find here.
I’ll finish the intro with two quotes from another article I wrote about the benefits of reading books:
“The foundation of learning is reading. I don’t know a smart person who doesn’t read and read all the time.” – by Naval Ravikant
“I was raised by books. Books, and then my parents”. – Elon Musk
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- It is foolish to think that an irrational market cannot become even more irrational.
- Most successes are caused by very few “windows of opportunity”, failing to grab one can be deadly for one’s career. Take your luck!
- The growth in available information has been exceeded only by the expansion of noise.
- Go to bed early and don’t optimize your schedule by squeezing every minute out of your evening.
- Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you!
- It doesn’t matter how frequently someone succeeds if failure is too costly to bear.
- The greater the number of businessmen, the greater the likelihood of one of them performing in a stellar manner just by luck.
- Nobody accepts randomness in his own success, only in his failure.
- We think with our emotions and there is no way around it. For the same reason, people who are otherwise rational engage in smoking or in fights that get them no immediate benefits.
- We are not made to view things as independent from each other. Our bias is immediately to establish a causal link.
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.
- Our society is better at explaining than understanding. Better at explaining than doing.
- Skin in the game means that you do not pay attention to what people say, only to what they do, and to how much of their necks they are putting on the line.
- Don’t tell me what you think, just tell me what’s in your portfolio.
- Always do more than you talk.
- People who have always operated without skin in the game seek the complicated and centralized and avoid the simple like the plague.
- Making some types of errors is the most rational thing to do when the errors are of little cost, as they lead to discoveries.
- Take only risks that can’t ruin you.
- What matters in life isn’t how frequently one is right about outcomes, but how much one makes when one is right.
- The ethical is always more robust than the legal. Over time, it is the legal that should converge to the ethical, never the reverse. Hence, laws come and go, but ethics stay.
The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox
by John Freeman
- Ironically, tools like email and social media that were meant to connect us are enabling us to spend even more time apart.
- We misunderstand the tone of email 50% of the time, phone calls 25% of the time, face to face conversations even less.
- Be careful! All of your emails can be forwarded.
- The internet could be the ultimate isolating technology that further reduces our participation in communities even more than did automobiles and TV.
- Email is the longest “employee leash” ever invented because we can’t seem to ever log off.
- Millions of people can and do constantly access their email. Psychologists have discovered that their behaviour in doing so is very like that of people sitting before a slot machine.
- Spouses are not the only ones neglected when we can’t put down our email or smartphone. A whole generation of children will grow up with ever more distracted parents.
- How many of our most enjoyable memories have been created in front of a screen?
- Attention is one of the most valuable modern resources.
- Don’t debate complex or sensitive matters over email.
by Henry David Thoreau
- It’s easier to acquire things than to get rid of them.
- The cost of a thing is the amount of life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
- Men have become the tools of their tools.
- As soon as you get the need of a house off your back, the world looks like a very different place.
- I find it better economy to retreat behind some curtain which nature has provided than to add a single item to the details of housekeeping.
- To affect the quality of a day, that is the highest of arts.
- Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Reading is important. Pay attention to classic works.
- Water is the only drink for a wise man.
- Goodness is the only investment that never fails.
- If all men were to live simple lives, thieving and robbery would be unknown. These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient, while others have not enough.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
by Cal Newport
- Technology increasingly dictates how we behave and how we feel, often at the expense of other activities we find more valuable.
- Delete social media from your phone. This will dramatically reduce the time you spend on these services.
- Many new tech tools are not as innocent as they may first seem. People don’t succumb to screens simply because they are lazy, but instead because of billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable.
- Tech companies want you to use their products in particular ways and for a long time because that’s how they make their money. Minimizing distraction and respecting users attention would reduce their revenue.
- Social media are exploiting vulnerabilities in human psychology.
- Digital Minimalism: focus your online time on a small number of activities that strongly support things that you value. Then, happily miss out on everything else.
- You are more likely to succeed in reducing the role of digital tools in your life if you cultivate high-quality alternatives to the easy distraction they provide.
- Do regular walking!
- We are not meant to keep in touch with so many people.
- A life well-lived requires activities that serve no other purpose than the satisfaction that the activity itself generates.
The 80% Approach
by Dan Sullivan
- Confidence only comes from fast engagement and completion.
- In a world that is both unpredictable and constantly changing, perfection is virtually unattainable.
- Perfection often causes stress.
- Our 80% is accepted as 100% by others.
- Focus your efforts on your unique ability. Identify other people’s unique ability.
- If you eliminate procrastination and do the first 80% quickly, you will gain personal confidence, feel progress, improvement and sense of personal achievement.
- Never ask other people to supply you with motivation and commitment that you don’t already have yourself.
- If you are stuck on a project and are still committed to it, identify the fastest and easiest action that will get it moving again.
- Eliminate projects that give you a sense of negative obligation rather than a positive commitment.
- Everyone responds positively to people who get things started and done quickly.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
by Cal Newport
- Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is follow your passion.
- You want to spend time on what’s important, instead of what’s immediate.
- If you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuable skills.
- Stop focusing on little details. Focus on becoming better.
- If you are not focusing on becoming so good they can’t ignore you, you are going to be left behind.
- To maximize your chances of success, you should deploy small, concrete experiments that return concrete feedback.
- Deliberate practice: is an approach to work where you deliberately stretch your abilities beyond where you’re comfortable and then receive ruthless feedback on your performance. Musicians, athletes, and chess players know all about deliberate practice. Knowledge workers, however, do not.
- Your learning should not be done completely in isolation. You need to be constantly soliciting feedback from colleagues and professionals. You should choose projects where you are forced to show your work to others.
- Timing is key. If you seek autonomy in your career too early, disaster awaits you. If you time it right, a fantastic working life awaits you.
- The key thing is to force yourself through hard work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
by Yuval Noah Harari
- Humans were always far better at inventing tools than using them wisely.
- It is easier than ever to talk to a friend on the other side of the world than to talk to your spouse over breakfast because he/she is constantly looking at his/her smartphone.
- Answers come from observation and experiments.
- Most politicians and businessmen are always on the run. Yet, if you want to go deeply into any subject, you need a lot of time, and in particular, you need the privilege of wasting time.
- When you try to explain to people the complexity of something by means of statistics and precise data, you lose them. However, a personal story can have a great impact and generate false moral certainty.